|Publication number||US7404374 B2|
|Application number||US 11/593,825|
|Publication date||Jul 29, 2008|
|Filing date||Nov 7, 2006|
|Priority date||Nov 7, 2006|
|Also published as||US20080105191|
|Publication number||11593825, 593825, US 7404374 B2, US 7404374B2, US-B2-7404374, US7404374 B2, US7404374B2|
|Original Assignee||Denso International America, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (33), Referenced by (13), Classifications (13), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present disclosure relates to a vehicle gauge and light guide structure. More specifically, the disclosure relates to a light guide structure with an indicator that is capable of passing light through its thickness to provide light to a dial in front of the pointer.
The statements in this section merely provide background information related to the present disclosure and may not constitute prior art. A conventional vehicle gauge, such as a speedometer gauge, typically has a light source positioned on a printed circuit board (“PCB”) to direct light to the gauge face or through the gauge face to make any indicia, such as numbers, visible to a person viewing the gauge. Additionally, gauges known in the art may have a pointer that is illuminated when light is directed through the pointer length from one end of the pointer.
While current vehicle gauges have generally proven to be satisfactory for their applications, each is associated with its share of limitations. One limitation of current gauges is that light can not be directed onto a second gauge face in front of the pointer using a light source behind the pointer. Another limitation of current gauges is that light can not be passed to a second gauge face in front of the pointer using current gauge structures, such as a single PCB. Still yet another limitation is that projecting light to a gauge face in front of a pointer traditionally requires wiring or electrical leads in front of the pointer, which may limit gauge function, such as pointer rotation sweep angle. Finally, current pointers do not permit light to pass through their thicknesses, so that such light may be further used in other areas of the gauge.
What is needed then is a device that does not suffer from the above limitations. This, in turn, will provide a device that permits a second gauge face in front of a gauge pointer to be illuminated but that does not require a printed circuit board or wiring in front of the pointer to illuminate the second face. Additionally, a device will be provided with a face in front of the pointer that does not interfere with pointer rotation operation. Finally, a device will be provided that has a gauge face in front of the pointer that permits indicia to be illuminated with a different color as the main or rear scale indicia and different from the pointer.
An indicating instrument employs a pointer that rotates in front of a rear gauge face and behind a front gauge face to measure or indicated a quantity such as vehicle speed. A printed circuit board may have three separate light sources situated on it; for instance, a main, or rear, dial plate has rear indicia illuminated by a first light source, a pointer may be illuminated by a second light source, and front indicia on a front dial face may be illuminated by a third light source. A pointer capable of rotating may be positioned in front of the rear dial plate to point to the rear indicia as the measured quantity changes, yet remain behind the front dial plate to point to the front indicia.
Light from the first light source may be directed lengthwise through the pointer indicator to illuminate the indicator. The front dial plate, which may be part of a separate front dial assembly, located on an opposite side of the indicator as the rear dial plate, may be cantilevered over the pointer instrument to permit free rotational movement of the pointer. The second light source may provide illumination to the front dial assembly as light from the second light source is directed through a thickness of the rotating indicator before passing into the front dial assembly. A third light source on the printed circuit board illuminates the rear indicia. Because the light from each of the three light sources do not mix or interfere with each other, the three light sources may each be different colors for an overall aesthetically pleasing appearance.
The front dial assembly may further utilize an outer ring, an inner ring, and a front dial plate that are illuminated by the second light source and a non-illuminated separator ring, which provides contrast when positioned between the outer ring and the inner ring. The front dial plate may possess indicia that correspond to possible pointer positions, such as kilometer per hour (KPH) markings while the rear plate indicia may indicate miles per hour (MPH) markings. A third light source illuminates the rear indicia.
The drawings described herein are for illustration purposes only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure in any way.
The following description is merely exemplary in nature and is not intended to limit the present disclosure, application, or uses. Throughout the drawings, corresponding reference numerals indicate like or corresponding parts and features.
Turning now to
Regarding materials of particular parts of the gauge 10, the outer ring 36 may be made of the transparent plastic polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), the separator ring 42 may be made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), the inner ring 46 may be made of the transparent plastic polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and the inner dial 50 may be made of polycarbonate (PC) sheet. However, the structure of the present teachings is not limited to such, and as a result, structural portions that must transmit light from the LEDs, may be made of any suitable lightweight plastic.
There are multiple advantages resulting from the teachings of the present invention. First, the pointer 30 permits light to pass through its elongated portion and also through its thickness, which is generally perpendicular to its longitudinal portion. As light passes through its thickness, the light reaches a second dial structure 56 on the opposite side of the pointer 30 as a first dial structure 28. With light at the second dial structure 56, front indicia 22 may be illuminated. An advantage of light gaining access to a second dial 56 and illuminating portions of the second dial 56 is that the second dial structure 56 does not need to have its own printed circuit board with one or more LEDs, nor do wires or circuitry need to be routed to the second dial structure 56 from the printed circuit board 12 of the first dial structure 28. A second advantage of the lighted indicia 22 on the front dial assembly 56 is that a second scale, such as numbers representing kilometers per hour (KPH) or other speed related data, may be indicated along with say, miles per hour (MPH) indicated by indicia 20.
The description of the invention is merely exemplary in nature and, thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|U.S. Classification||116/286, 116/288, 116/DIG.36, 362/23.18, 362/23.19|
|International Classification||G12B11/02, G01D11/28|
|Cooperative Classification||B60K2350/408, G01D13/265, G01D11/28, Y10S116/36|
|European Classification||G01D13/26L, G01D11/28|
|Nov 7, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: DENSO INTERNATIONAL AMERICA, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KATO, TAKAHIRA;REEL/FRAME:018531/0223
Effective date: 20061030
|Jan 30, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Nov 24, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8